Common Sense pampleteer / WED 7-26-17 / Rambler maker / 2006 Supreme Court nominee / Mineral in kale / Peter Paul and / Queen of the Nile / Jack's love Titanic / Typeface similar to Helvetica

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Constructor: Brian Cox

Relative difficulty: Easy (5:38)

THEME: Knock-Knock jokes — You know what a knock-knock joke is.
  • 17A: Response to "Knock knock": WHO'S THERE
  • 21A: "Esther ...": ANYONE HOME
  • 36A: "Yvonne ...": TO BE ALONE
  • 42A: "Sadie ...": MAGIC WORD
  • 52A: "Ken ...": I GET AN AMEN
  • 62A: "Luke ...": MA NO HANDS (did anyone else parse this as "man o' hands"?)
Word of the Day: ARIAL (27D: Typeface similar to Helvetica)
Arial, sometimes marketed or displayed in software as Arial MT, is a sans-serif typeface and set of computer fonts. Fonts from the Arial family are packaged with all versions of Microsoft Windows from Windows 3.1 onwards, some other Microsoft software applications, Apple Mac OS X and many PostScript 3 computer printers. The typeface was designed in 1982 by a 10-person team, led by Robin Nicholas and Patricia Saunders, for Monotype Typography. It was created to be metrically identical to the popular typeface Helvetica, with all character widths identical, so that a document designed in Helvetica could be displayed and printed correctly without having to pay for a Helvetica license. (Wikipedia) [This paragraph is in Arial.]
• • •

Come senators, congressmen please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside and it's ragin'

I love knock-knock jokes, and I had high hopes for this puzzle -- up through 42A I thought there would be some kind of progression, i.e. that the person knocking would say the magic word and be let in. Maybe the magic word was DORIS. Doris who, you ask? Doris locked, that's why I'm knocking. Or maybe it was CARMEN. Carmen who? Carmen let me in! Wait, no, it's HARRY. Harry who? Harry up, it's cold out here! Orange you glad I didn't say banana?

Knock knock. Who there? Phyllis. Phyllis who? Phyllis decent but not flashy. I suspect people may trip over HOB (63D: Play ___ with (do mischief to)) -- it's not an expression I'd heard, and most of the sources I'm finding suggest that it's a British idiom. OVINE (66A: Like a merino) is a handy Scrabble word if you're trying to use up a V tile, or if your opponent has played VINE and you have an O. I'm curious about the cluing on AMOS (55D: "Chicago" simpleton ___ Hart) in a Wednesday puzzle, since there's a far more famous Amos.

Also: this is a debut, the first one I've blogged for Rex. Congratulations, Brian! Looking forward to seeing more puzzles from you. 

The only 30D I recognize

No bullets, but a quotation from 1A: "Common Sense"pamphleteer (PAINE) 
“Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.”
Signed, Laura Braunstein, Sorceress of CrossWorld

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Discharge as from a volcano / TUE 7-25-17 / Protective embankment / Ambient music as ignorable as interesting / Zoë Avatar / Jason's vessel / House of Elizabeth II / Variety show host 1951-71 / Ibsen's Gabler / Captain Nemo's vessel

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Constructor: Alex Vratsanos

Relative difficulty: Easy (5:37)

THEME: SPREAD THE GOSPEL (61A: Evangelize ... or what this puzzle's circled squares do? — Letters in the names of the four canonical gospels are "spread" through four theme entries.
  • 17A: Was loved by MEANT THE WORLD TO
  • 22A: Know-it-all SMART ALECK
  • 39A: Comment after a fortuitous happening LUCKY ME
  • 50A: Frequently going from one post to another
Word of the Day: BLAIR HOUSE (51D: ___ House (Washington landmark)) —
The President's Guest House, commonly known as Blair House, is a complex of four formerly separate buildings—Blair House, Lee House, Peter Parker House, and 704 Jackson Place—located in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. A major interior renovation of these 19th century residences between the 1950s and 1980s resulted in their reconstitution as a single facility. The President's Guest House is one of several residences owned by the United States government for use by the President and Vice President of the United States; other such residences include the White House, Camp David, One Observatory Circle, the Presidential Townhouse, and Trowbridge House. The President's Guest House has been called "the world's most exclusive hotel" because it is primarily used to host visiting dignitaries and other guests of the president. It is larger than the White House and closed to the public. (Wikipedia)
• • •
11D: Variety show host of 1951-71

I'm going to go 32A: No holds BARRED on this one: it is my least favorite of all the puzzles I've blogged for Rex. It's not a terrible puzzle, but meh. The theme itself is kinda old fashioned, as is much of the fill (more on that later), and while it was competently executed ... if not for 20A: Zoë of "Avatar" (SALDANA) and 69A: Craft company with a 2015 I.P.O. (ETSY), I could've been solving this with my grandfather in 1982. And as much as I miss those times, and I as much as I miss him, I'd rather solve a better puzzle.
“It’s hard when you go and fight for a role, because they’re like ‘I don’t know, man, you mean, it’s like the blue girl from Avatar? ... I want to go down a different route. I feel like a little bit of an underdog because I live in space, nobody wants me here on Earth.” (Interview in The Independent)
Fill-wise ... TSK (41A: Sound of reproach). We've got our prefixes: LACTI, ALTI, TERA, and ISO. We've got BSIX (take one ADAY). We've got DSHARP crossing ESCARP (I'll bet MSHARP will be glad he ESCARPed this one). We've got ANTE, APSE, ADA, and ENO. SPEW, EEGS! HIE there, RUSSO! ABAFT, PELOSI, say the GOP Reps. I did like to see both fictional ships ARGO (25A: Jason's vessel, in myth) and NAUTILUS (35A: Captain Nemo's vessel).

66A: Family history, e.g.
  • 4D: House of Elizabeth II (WINDSOR) Almost exactly 100 years ago, the British Royal Family changed its name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor.
  • 23D: What gives you the right to bare arms? (TANK TOP) — Not in Congress, apparently.
  • 9D: Nuisance in an online comments section (TROLL) — Don't be one. 
Signed, Laura Braunstein, Sorceress of CrossWorld

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